Apologies to the legions of screaming fans who desperately love their over-produced and auto-tuned pop stars but those pop stars, like COVID-19, are famous not because of unique strength but thanks to wildly effective marketing and branding.
And a lot of it.
Americans will for generations talk about their courageous triumph over COVID-19, and the strife they endured and the strength they exhibited. Those who died as a result of COVID-19 will forever be remembered with 100 times more reverence than those who die from any other cause. The American public will celebrate themselves for generations to come; the virus’s victims memorialized within their communities on par with American soldiers. And the testimony of gainfully employed healthcare workers crying dutifully into their Facebook videos will be all that’s needed as proof that COVID-19 truly was “literally the worst thing ever.”
And anyone who challenges any of it will be deemed a social heretic who clearly hates science, America and heroes.
Put another way: imagine a world you had to concede that Justin Bieber is the greatest musical talent of our time or risk being forever ostracized in both your personal and professional communities.
You just imagined life in America with respect to COVID-19 once this thing is over.
And it’s all predicated on branding.
Not only is it starting to pass with just a tiny fraction of the carnage that was initially predicted (promised), but it increasingly looks feasible that we may have already established herd immunity without even realizing it. Flashback to March 15, 2020:
Of course if we haven’t yet established herd immunity (i.e. nature’s vaccine), then we will once we reopen the country as the number of COVID-19 cases again spikes and this time with even greater scope because we won’t immediately shut everything down the second we realize it’s out there. And when/if that happens, the media will go into high gear making sure every single death is laid squarely at President Trump’s feet.
As they’ve done for the last 4 years, the U.S. political media will incite all the terror, hatred, distrust and disunity they can without formally declaring their allegiance to our nation’s enemies. They will do everything they can to suggest that re-opening America meant President Trump needs to be impeached and then tried for attempted genocide. If another 50,000 people die from COVID-19, the media will make it their top priority to ensure every person in America knows every one of their names, and they won’t stop stalking the families of the fallen until they find a grieving relative who is willing to blame President Trump directly. And they will do it all while ignoring that a) the alternative was to keep our country shut down for at least a year until there’s a proven and deliverable vaccine, thus killing the USA as we know it forever, and that b) while tragic, the number of deaths from COVID-19 never even approached the doomsday levels they initially promised, and that the broader “death rate” for the virus will end up statistically on par with the seasonal flu.
If there is only negligible viral fallout upon reopening America, then the media will shift nevertheless to making sure we “#NeverForget this terrifying chapter in our nation’s history” while using it to bludgeon President Trump and the government that exists on his watch.
No matter how you cut it, as they did with their 4-year onslaught of “Russia! Russia! Russia!” conspiracy theories, the media will never admit they were wrong nor pay any price for the enormous destruction left in their wake. And because we let them and their friends in academia manipulate us so easily and so completely, many of us will be content to never admit it either.
That’s how the most effective branding and marketing works. Even if at some point you realize your favorite stars are lip syncing, or can’t even read music let alone write it, or have never once actually played a single note on that guitar they’ve always got draped over their shoulder, you still forgive and forget because those songs that 150 music theory psychologists wrote and record executives paid to promote until you either fell in love with it on your own or by association — those songs really are “too good” to deny.
They’re not, actually. While sometimes at least moderately passable for music and musicians, they’re most often just pure garbage.
And everyone knows it.
Even the people who love them will often admit they do so as part of a “guilty pleasure.”
And it’s “guilty” because they know it’s ultimately trash.
No such concession will be made when it comes to the reverence that most Americans will afford COVID-19 in its historical context. But make no mistake, that reverence will be based not on actual science or statistics or any other meaningful metric with respect to death and disease. It will be based on marketing. Whether it took one month or one year, if 100,000 Americans die from COVID-19 by the time it runs its course then it will be on par with a tougher than usual flu season. (And no that measured observation doesn’t mean I “want people to die“, but if you truly have no other rational retort then go ahead and continue stifling legitimate debate with that spectacularly simplistic straw man.) And for that tougher than usual flu season 335 million of us enthusiastically ceded virtually all of our freedoms, locked ourselves indoors for months, killed 20 million jobs, wiped out trillions from Americans’ life savings, added trillions more to the debt that we are all now on the hook for, and created untold new healthcare problems and costs downstream for all the people who were denied treatment or preventative care in light of the “overwhelming demand” for COVID-19 resources that never actually came close to meeting their wildly overblown projections.
And for what?
We did it because the massively powerful media with help from their socially and politically compromised friends in academia decided to launch a massive marketing effort to make COVID-19 — an otherwise mostly unremarkable viral strain that, like so many others, comes along every few years and is just significant enough to earn a name that becomes known to the public — would be relentlessly branded “the worst thing ever” until every American and the rest of the free world had completely submitted to the terror it inspired.
And submit we did.
And as it comes to an end, be it with yet more carnage as part of its natural course or very little carnage if it already ran that course, the branding and marketing were so effective that few among us will ever know or be able to stomach admitting that we were duped; that COVID-19 was actually lip syncing this entire time, that its first album “Worst Thing Ever; This Changes Everything” will actually be the only one it ever puts out, and that its #1 hit (“Social Distancing Worked“) was just a recycled composite of 20 others that its media producers had written and sold hundreds of times before.
As far as good reasons to destroy an economy and the lives of tens of millions of Americans, and to cede our freedoms eagerly and entirely, and to compromise the health and well-being of every American who didn’t have it but nevertheless had to suffer because of it, COVID-19 — a “guilty pleasure” for some, especially in the media and fund-me-academia — was exponentially less deserving than the impression left by its massively overstated branding. But history will never remember it that way because the marketing was so incredibly strong, and the humiliation that we let it happen while cheering ourselves on for it, too great.
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